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IN SHORT

Former spy boss Lexa found guilty

THE BRATISLAVA district court found the former boss of the Slovak Intelligence Service (SIS) Ivan Lexa guilty of power abuse in association with the fake purchase of an artwork, a triptych depicting the Adoration of Magi.

Lexa set up the fake deal to discredit Banská Bystrica Bishop Rudolf Baláž.

Lexa plans to appeal the verdict, which he claims is politically motivated, according to the daily SME.

The court ordered Lexa to either pay a fine of Sk500,000 (€12,900) or spend 12 months in jail.

The trial began January 29, 2004, when Lexa and his ex-deputy, Jaroslav Svečhota (who died late last year), were charged with power abuse. Over the course of one year the court heard 50 witnesses.

Lexa reportedly authorized the withdrawal of $200,000 in 1995 for the fictitious purchase of "The Adoration of the Magi" from the Banska Bystricá diocese.

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